English 9

Course Overview

English 9 is a course in the English language arts (ELA) sequence required for graduation. Students will build upon ELA skills acquired in prior grades that are essential to their preparation for their collegiate study and/or career. Through the study of a variety of text types and media, students will build knowledge, analyze ideas, delineate arguments and develop writing, collaboration and communication skills. Students will read in many genres and write in several forms – narrative, exploratory, expository and argumentative – on many different subjects, from personal experiences to public policies and from literature to contemporary culture.

Required Text

None. However, suggested course reading (which will be provided by the school) includes:

  • “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell
  • “The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
  • Literature Circle-themed novels
  • Informational texts that relate to content covered during specified units.

Required Supplies

  • One marble composition notebook
  • Pencils and pens with blue or black ink
  • 3-by-5 index cards
  • College-ruled paper
  • Pack of Post-it notes
  • Highlighters

Course Format and Procedures

The class meets daily for 42 minutes and includes some periods of lecture, reading, writing or conferencing (in groups, pairs or with the teacher). Students are expected to participate in discussions and share select pieces of their work with their peers and, on occasion, with a larger community audience.

Grading Procedures

Summative assignments will include essays, short stories, tests, quizzes, oral presentations and performances, all of which will be assessed using a rubric. Formative assignments will require students to read and write daily, participate in groups, participate in peer editing activities and participate in class discussions.

  • Tests, essays and projects: 35%
  • Quizzes: 25%
  • Participation and classwork: 40%

Student and Parent Resources

Students: Teachers are available for after-school help Monday through Thursday, and every day during first and sixth period by appointment.

Parents: Email is the best way to contact the instructors, and they will respond within 24 hours. Parent Portal is another great resource to track your child’s grades, as well as Parent University, which offers opportunities for parents to learn skills to help make their children successful.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Reading Closely for Textual Details/Key Ideas and Details (Weeks 1-7)

Develop students’ abilities to read closely for textual details and compare authors’ perspectives through an examination of a series of texts. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Unit 2: Making Evidence Based Claims/Craft and Structure (Weeks 9-16)

Use “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” to develop students’ abilities to make evidence-based claims through activities based on close reading. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters and advance the plot or develop the theme. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension or surprise.

Unit 3: Comprehension and Collaboration (Week 18-28)

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines and individual roles as needed. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify or challenge ideas and conclusions. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.

Unit 4: Research to Deepen Understanding/Building Evidence-Based Arguments (Weeks 26-29)

Students pose and refine inquiry questions, exploring areas they wish to investigate. They find and assess sources and organize researched material in ways that will support their analysis and integration of information. As their inquiry progresses, they evaluate and extend their research, synthesize their information and express their evolving evidence-based perspective. Develop the ability to analyze arguments from a range of perspectives and learn to write and revise their own evidence-based arguments.

Unit 5: Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (Literature Circles) (Weeks 30-38)

Students self-select text of interest, and then read and share their growing knowledge and/or perspective via the method of their choice. In literature circles, small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students’ responses to what they have read. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add to their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response.